December 4, 2019
Jay-Z Suing Little Homie for Copyright Infringement
Jay-Z has filed a lawsuit against the author of a 2017 children’s book titled, A B to Jay-Z by Jessica Chiha, which is published by her company The Little Homie. According to The New York Times, the billionaire businessman’s complaint states that the “use of his name, likeness, and references to ‘99 problems’ in the book and other Little Homie products is ‘a deliberate and knowing attempt to trade off the reputation and goodwill’ of the rapper, and uses his intellectual property ‘for their own commercial gain.’” The Little Homie also sells two versions of its 99 problems t-shirt.
According to The New York Times, Jay-Z’s lawyers have sent several cease-and-desist letters from 2017 to the Little Homie, according to the complaint. It also alleges that the company had made a “false and misleading representation” that Jay-Z had approved and was affiliated with the book. The Little Homie said on Thursday it had done nothing wrong and intended to fight the case. “We are unbelievably disappointed to find ourselves caught in a legal battle with someone whose music we love and adore,” Chiha, the company’s owner, said in a statement.
On Amazon’s website, the book’s description says, “I Got 99 Problems but my children learning their ABC’s ain’t one! This hip-hop inspired book is designed to pump up your child’s alphabet game. Let Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls, Eminem, Pharrell, Snoop Dog and more, teach your little homie their ABCs. Relive some of the greatest Rap, Hip Hop, and R&B musicians of our time, while teaching your children where it’s at, for real.”
The site is also selling books with titles like, First 50 Words With 50 Cent, 1 2 3 with the Notorious B.I.G., and Brooklyn’s Finest – Deluxe Book Pack (Which, like the song titled Brooklyn’s Finest by Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G., bundles the books, A B to Jay-Z with 1 2 3 with the Notorious B.I.G)
Back in 2017, The Root called out the author and her boyfriend for cultural appropriation in an article titled, “These Blackface-Wearing, N-Word-Spewing Culture Vultures Would Like to Teach Your Kids About Hip-Hop.”
A case management hearing on the matter is scheduled for Dec. 6.